Biden hits Chinese electric cars and solar cells with higher tariffs

US President Joe Biden is raising tariffs on Chinese electric cars, solar panels, steel and other goods.

The White House said the measures, which include a 100% border tax on electric cars from China, are a response to unfair policies and are aimed at protecting American jobs.

China has said it opposes the increase and will take countermeasures.

Analysts said the tariffs were largely symbolic and aimed at winning votes in a difficult election year.

They follow months of criticism from former President Donald Trump, who is running for the White House against Biden, saying his rival’s support for electric cars would “kill” the US auto industry.

Mr. Biden vowed on Tuesday not to let China “unfairly dominate” the market for electric vehicles and other key goods, including batteries, computer chips and basic medical supplies.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to keep the most important things safe here at home,” he said.

The tariffs announced Tuesday will hit about $18 billion of imports, the White House said.

In addition to the increase in tariffs for electric vehicles from 25% to 100%, the fees for solar panels will increase from 25% to 50%.

Tariffs on certain steel and aluminum products will more than triple to 25 percent from 7.5 percent or less.

In response, China’s Ministry of Commerce said the new measures would “significantly affect the atmosphere of bilateral cooperation,” criticizing what it characterized as the politicization of economic issues.

Before the White House issued a strong statement on Tuesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the Chinese foreign ministry “will take all necessary measures to protect its legitimate rights and interests.”

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The moves expand a sweeping border tax the US imposed on Chinese goods under Trump, citing unfair trade practices. .

During the administration’s review of the Biden administration’s measures, the administration received nearly 1,500 comments, most of them from merchants who said they raised prices for everyday Americans and asked that they be removed.

Biden’s decision to maintain the tariffs and expand them to new areas — even as persistent U.S. inflation hurt his approval rating — signals a dramatic shift in the views of both political parties in the United States. which has long protected the interests of global trade.

Wendy Cutler, a former US trade official who is now vice president of the Asia Social Policy Institute, said she believes Americans are willing to accept more expensive cars in exchange for protecting American businesses and jobs.

“We’ve seen this movie before — with solar, steel and [aluminum] and autos and other products, the U.S. has to excel,” he said.

“It’s about compromises and maybe cars will be expensive in the short term, but in the long term we want a competitive industry.”

At a briefing with reporters, White House officials denied that domestic politics influenced the decision.

They said Beijing has shown no sign of abandoning practices that hurt the United States, including rules that force Western companies to share data to steal it and subsidies that have helped companies pump their products well. above the expected demand.

“They flooded the market,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s not racing – it’s cheating.”

The White House said the tariffs were targeted and not expected to raise inflation, differentiating their approach from Mr Trump’s.

The former president, who once called himself a “tariff guy,” campaigned for a 10 percent tariff on foreign imports that could rise to 60 percent on goods from China.

He also attacked Mr. Biden for promoting electric vehicles. He said the move would destroy American auto companies, major employers in states like Michigan that are key election battlegrounds in November.

Erica York, senior economist at the Tax Foundation, said both candidates are going down the same path of higher trade barriers and looking inward “instead of looking at what we can do in terms of policy that will actually make our industry more competitive.” .”

She said the administration’s promotion of tariffs as a strategy is “a euphemism to protect industries that are politically important to this administration.”

“This is a calculation of political economy rather than what makes the most economic sense or what is most affordable for American consumers.”

The US already imposes steep tariffs on electric cars made in China, which have made sales of such cars negligible.

However, Washington carefully controlled the sale of Chinese companies in Europe and other countries.

White House officials say ensuring that no one country dominates green technology is critical to making the transition successful and sustainable in the long term.

While the move to electric vehicles is likely to have little practical impact, the business world is waiting to see if Europe takes similar action, said Natasha Ebtehadj of Artemis Investment Management.

The European Union and the United Kingdom are discussing, among other things, measures to limit imports of Chinese electric cars, although there is a risk of slowing down their deployment.

“It’s not a surprise for investors or Chinese companies, especially before an election where no candidate is really pro-China,” he said.

“Considering the relatively small volume of imports into the United States, it may be more interesting to see what happens next in Europe.”

The United States and China have been locked in a trade war since 2018, when Trump imposed tariffs on about two-thirds of goods imported from China, worth about 360 billion dollars at the time..

US President Joe Biden is raising tariffs on Chinese electric cars, solar panels, steel and other goods.

The White House said the measures, which include a 100% border tax on electric cars from China, are a response to unfair policies and are aimed at protecting American jobs.

China has said it opposes the increase and will take countermeasures.

Analysts said the tariffs were largely symbolic and aimed at winning votes in a difficult election year.

They follow months of criticism from former President Donald Trump, who is running for the White House against Biden, saying his rival’s support for electric cars would “kill” the US auto industry.

Mr. Biden vowed on Tuesday not to let China “unfairly dominate” the market for electric vehicles and other key goods, including batteries, computer chips and basic medical supplies.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to keep the most important things safe here at home,” he said.

The tariffs announced Tuesday will hit about $18 billion of imports, the White House said.

In addition to the increase in tariffs for electric vehicles from 25% to 100%, the fees for solar panels will increase from 25% to 50%.

Tariffs on certain steel and aluminum products will more than triple to 25 percent from 7.5 percent or less.

In response, China’s Ministry of Commerce said the new measures would “significantly affect the atmosphere of bilateral cooperation,” criticizing what it characterized as the politicization of economic issues.

Before the White House issued a strong statement on Tuesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the Chinese foreign ministry “will take all necessary measures to protect its legitimate rights and interests.”

US says declining trade with China could be positive
How Chinese companies use Mexico as US backdoor
The moves expand a sweeping border tax the US imposed on Chinese goods under Trump, citing unfair trade practices. .

During the administration’s review of the Biden administration’s measures, the administration received nearly 1,500 comments, most of them from merchants who said they raised prices for everyday Americans and asked that they be removed.

Biden’s decision to maintain the tariffs and expand them to new areas — even as persistent U.S. inflation hurt his approval rating — signals a dramatic shift in the views of both political parties in the United States. which has long protected the interests of global trade.

Wendy Cutler, a former US trade official who is now vice president of the Asia Social Policy Institute, said she believes Americans are willing to accept more expensive cars in exchange for protecting American businesses and jobs.

“We’ve seen this movie before — with solar, steel and [aluminum] and autos and other products, the U.S. has to excel,” he said.

“It’s about compromises and maybe cars will be expensive in the short term, but in the long term we want a competitive industry.”

At a briefing with reporters, White House officials denied that domestic politics influenced the decision.

They said Beijing has shown no sign of abandoning practices that hurt the United States, including rules that force Western companies to share data to steal it and subsidies that have helped companies pump their products well. above the expected demand.

“They flooded the market,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s not racing – it’s cheating.”

The White House said the tariffs were targeted and not expected to raise inflation, differentiating their approach from Mr Trump’s.

The former president, who once called himself a “tariff guy,” campaigned for a 10 percent tariff on foreign imports that could rise to 60 percent on goods from China.

He also attacked Mr. Biden for promoting electric vehicles. He said the move would destroy American auto companies, major employers in states like Michigan that are key election battlegrounds in November.

Erica York, senior economist at the Tax Foundation, said both candidates are going down the same path of higher trade barriers and looking inward “instead of looking at what we can do in terms of policy that will actually make our industry more competitive.” .”

She said the administration’s promotion of tariffs as a strategy is “a euphemism to protect industries that are politically important to this administration.”

“This is a calculation of political economy rather than what makes the most economic sense or what is most affordable for American consumers.”

The US already imposes steep tariffs on electric cars made in China, which have made sales of such cars negligible.

However, Washington carefully controlled the sale of Chinese companies in Europe and other countries.

White House officials say ensuring that no one country dominates green technology is critical to making the transition successful and sustainable in the long term.

While the move to electric vehicles is likely to have little practical impact, the business world is waiting to see if Europe takes similar action, said Natasha Ebtehadj of Artemis Investment Management.

The European Union and the United Kingdom are discussing, among other things, measures to limit imports of Chinese electric cars, although there is a risk of slowing down their deployment.

“It’s not a surprise for investors or Chinese companies, especially before an election where no candidate is really pro-China,” he said.

“Considering the relatively small volume of imports into the United States, it may be more interesting to see what happens next in Europe.”

The United States and China have been locked in a trade war since 2018, when Trump imposed tariffs on about two-thirds of goods imported from China, worth about 360 billion dollars at the time..

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